He was my first. I have never been more excited or more utterly terrified of anything in my whole life. The thought of us being together made my heart race, and other parts of me stand at attention. It started out like any other hook up; we met online, discussed our likes and dislikes. I remember that his pictures didn’t immediately signify he was disabled…
“So, before we go any further… I should tell you, I am in a wheelchair,” he said. I know what he was probably feeling; the potential fear of rejection the sits in the pit of your stomach, and battles with the feeling that “you might actually get some” every time this opportunity presents itself as a PwD. Also at this moment, two very distinct happenings took place for me.
The first was an extreme sense of relief and happiness. Finally, I might get to spend time with someone who actually understands all of the stuff that comes along with trying to access your sexuality when living with a disability. I could take off my Professor Disability cap with this one, and let my dark, delectable and delicious side come out to play. I was excited by the prospect of being free in the moment – not actually having to worry if he was apprehensive or scared of all that my disability would bring into the boudoir. I might actually be able to let my guard down, and let Apprehensive Andrew have a rest.
At the same time, I kept running through the logistics in my head. Sitting in my 300 lbs. chair, I worried how we would be able to help me out and how this would actually happen. Would he be able to lift me into bed? Would I have to call someone to help us (truthfully, the idea of having a third party in the bedroom is super hot, but not when they are not directly involved in the taste test that may be occurring)? In that moment, I understood what all the guys who I had hooked up with must have felt on some level (isn’t it cute how I said “all the guys”, like it’s happening on the regular? Le sigh). You see, whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not, each of us has a schematic of how sex, including the preamble, should look.
Typically, my preamble would involve my able-bodied partner carrying me over the threshold, and placing me in bed, while some 80s ballad plays in the background and we fall into the fantasy of it all. (Note: in reality, my part-time lovers try really hard to understand my disability and what I’ll need, but it usually starts with me asking if they are okay 700 million times prior to any playfulness.) This wouldn’t be the case here. I had never had a fantasy involving another PwD, so I had no clue how to process the possibilities.
The day finally came. I remember that he had come up to my place, and I was so happy at that moment that I had an accessible apartment. I remember that when he entered my space, I was unable to stop grinning, because for the first time ever, my lover was on my level – and there was something altogether comforting about that fact. Somehow, he managed to get me out of my big chair, and we stumbled and practically fell in the bed. His body writhed a top mine, and we negotiated the removal of clothes. Usually, when I am with non-disabled individuals, there is an element of care that comes into this routine. Not here. For once, the stumbling felt natural, sexy. It wasn’t precipitated by fear that if you touch me, you’ll break me. It was rushed out of desire not deterrence. Hawt sawce.
During the rendezvous, when we were finally settled, I looked across the room and saw our two wheelchairs sitting aside one another. I kept grinning at this reality… two cripples copulating, being together in that moment. Our bodies not broken, but bonded by the oppressions and obstacles we had faced. We were on equal footing (phrasing? LOL), which only made our connection that much more intense.
When all was said and done, I remember saying goodbye to him at the door. As I watched him wheel away, I was elated and excited by what had just happened. This was so much better than anything I had ever experienced – it felt like I, in a way, had lost my virginity again.
I called him a few days later, excited to see him and see where things might lead. In my feverish frenzy to relish in the moment, I asked him to hang out again. He paused. It was the pause we all know. The one where they’re about to reveal to you something you knew deep, deep inside. After his pause, which felt like an eternity, he said that we couldn’t see each other again because… I was “too disabled” and “too much work.” I was absolutely floored by what I was hearing. I couldn’t believe that someone who most likely had experienced all the same stumbles as I had was being so very ableist. What. Was. Happening? I think I actually thought, “He isn’t allowed to say that, is he?” It was some of the worst rejection that I have ever experienced, because it came from one of my own.
What this experience highlights for me is that the effects of ableism and the scripts that we have been indoctrinated with when it comes to sex and sexuality do not discriminate. Anybody is susceptible to these fears and prejudices, disability notwithstanding.
All that being said, if you are wheeled and want to have your way with me, I am ready, charged and waiting….
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